Two days ago in the centrist Middle East observer, Al-Monitor …
Syrians to be deported for eating bananas ‘provocatively’ in Turkey
As tensions soar between Turks and their country’s 4 million refugees, a viral trend of young Syrians posting videos of themselves eating bananas has ended in some set to be deported.
Nazlan Ertan: October 28, 2021
Turkey said it was deporting at least seven Syrians for participating in a “provocative banana-eating campaign” after a wave of TikTok videos showing young Syrians munching the fruit as a way of mocking anti-refugee sentiment in Turkey and the battered Turkish economy.
The images and videos — posted by Syrians not only in Turkey but also in other countries — came after a Turkish man complained before cameras that he could no longer afford bananas, whereas the Syrians could buy loads. Bananas, which cost $1-2 per kilogram in Turkey, are traditionally seen as a symbol of a lavish lifestyle.
While some Turks reacted to the Syrian videos that have gone viral over the last 10 days, the deportation announcement from Turkey’s Directorate General of Migration Management came as a surprise — and brought questions about whether the deportations, which have not yet taken place, would be legal.
“I honestly did not see that coming,” Omar Kadkoy, a policy analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, told Al-Monitor. “The deportation announcement shows a bankruptcy of policy. Do the Syrians have no right to express their views when they are faced with discrimination or use sarcasm against the anti-refugee myths? What does it say for freedom of expression? Worse, what does it say about social cohesion between the Turkish and Syrian communities, except to say it is on very thin ice?”
A cryptic statement by the directorate said that a probe over the provocative social media posts had led to the arrest of seven foreign nationals who were being deported following the judicial process. The migration authority’s statement did not clarify just what the seven people were charged with, but a statement from the Istanbul police later on Thursday said that 11 Syrians had been taken into custody for “inciting hatred” and “insulting Turkish people.”